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imagine that they have made any difference when they
have transformed the precept into something like
".Work for society " or " Serve the State ". They fail
to notice that, instead of actual people, some abstract
noun or political-science concept has been inserted as
the real end, and to this more artificial object human
beings are regarded as subservient. The Hitlers of the
world do carry a certain plausibility sorrietimes when
they call upon young men to sacrifice their private
egotisms and immolate themselves for the good of
Germany; but even self-sacrifice is a monstrosity when
something other than human beings is envisaged as its
object; and, sliding down this inclined plane, men will
soon be killing or betraying their actual next-door
neighbours for the sake of the idea of the State. A
dangerous conjuring-trick is liable to be involved if we
even turn " Love your neighbour " into " Love man-
kind *.*; for it is easy to love the collective noun rather
than people, or to reserve one's compassion for strangers
at the other end of the world. And some only have
charity for the generations to be born in the far future;
and, once again, it is just the real live human beings,
close at hand, who are apt to be overlooked. Some
men have been so devoted to a cause—one which
indeed they may have taken up originally out of a real
compassion for their fellow-creatures—or they may
have become so egotistically attached to their own plan
of salvation for the human race—that they have been
ready to ride over men's broken bodies to secure their
purposes. And in any case some people who work for
human causes do not realise how much they may be